How To Prevent a Dental Emergency
Protecting Young Smiles From Injury
Whether your child is playing indoors or outside, there is always a chance that an injury can occur. Busted lips, knocked-out teeth, or even just a painful toothache can be the result of a hard tackle on the field, tripping over the dog’s toy, or forgetting to brush their teeth before bed…again. At Bear Pediatric Dentistry, our team wants to help you avoid these common pitfalls at home so that your little one can continue running, playing, and doing all the fun and exciting things kids love to do. To avoid the potential rush to see a kid’s emergency dentist, let us offer some helpful tips to minimize the risk of injury. If you’d like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Bear and his team, contact us today.
Make Sure They’re Eating Healthy Foods
If your child is like so many others, they would tell you they could live off soda, sweets, and potato chips. Unfortunately, these aren’t the most ideal food choices for you or your little one. Their contents can cause plaque to accumulate on their teeth and eat away at the tooth enamel, resulting in tooth decay and cavity formations. To ensure their teeth remain cavity-free, trade their unhealthy snacks for fruits, vegetables, and water. These healthier alternatives will not only help them feel more energized, but they will be less likely to develop problems with their teeth and gums, and they’ll stay hydrated throughout the day.
Help Them Break Bad Oral Habits
It is also important that you make sure your child is not chewing on ice or developing bad oral habits that include nail-biting or chewing on pencils or other inanimate objects. While these are often considered “mindless” habits, they can cause fractures or injury to their teeth.
For younger patients, it is best to find ways to minimize their use of pacifiers and discourage the practice of sucking their thumb or finger. These behaviors can lead to an increased risk of an overbite and can damage the upper front teeth.
Safeguard Their Smiles
If your little one plays sports, make sure they have a mouthguard to protect their teeth and gums from harm. Sports-related injuries are some of the most common and can result in lacerations to the soft tissues, knocked-out teeth, and broken or chipped pearly whites. If you want to keep their smile intact, a mouthguard can serve as a barrier between their beautiful smile and anything that comes its way.
If you are looking for places to purchase a mouthguard for your child, you can check your local sporting goods store, which often requires you to mold the appliance using warm water at home, or you can have one custom-made by a dentist. If your child has braces, make sure you choose a mouthguard that is labeled for orthodontic treatment to ensure there is enough room for the teeth to move.
However, should your child experience a sports-related injury, such as a partially or fully knocked-out tooth, make sure you retrieve the tooth by its crown and rinse off any debris. If possible, you can try to reinsert it into your child’s vacated socket. If this proves unsuccessful, place it in a container of milk to help keep it moist until you are able to reach our office.
Supervise Your Little One as They Learn and Grow
If you have a baby in the house, you want to be especially mindful of their movements as they learn to walk. While you may be thinking along the lines of baby proofing cabinets and erecting baby gates, you should also supervise them as they move throughout the home. If they are teething, make sure they do not have access to electrical wires, batteries, Lego pieces, or other potentially dangerous items, as they will want to put anything in their mouth to relieve discomfort.
In these early years, they will also likely take a tumble more often than not, so making sure they do not hit their mouth on a piece of furniture or the floor is important to keep their baby teeth firmly in place. You will also want to avoid allowing them to have any kind of sucker, popsicle, or another object in their mouth as they begin to move around.
The same can be said for young children learning to ride a bike, especially without training wheels. This common “rite of passage” for young ones should be closely supervised to ensure their smiles remain free of injuries.
Never Let Your Child Use Their Teeth as Tools
Whether your child is old enough to safely use scissors or not, never let them open packages or containers with their teeth. This can wear down tooth enamel and potentially cause a break or chip that will require restorative treatment. This rule is important for adults as well. Your kids are watching you and will mimic your actions, so don’t let this become a habit.